Econo Lodge Coliseum Area
575 Clanton Rd
Charlotte, NC 28217
Phone: (704) 523-0633
Fax: (704) 319-2120
Latta Park began as a real estate developer's ploy to lure the people of Charlotte out of the crowded city center and into the suburbs. Today, the South End is far from suburban, and Latta Park remains a thing of beauty. Long, narrow and green, the 31-acre park is home to a basketball court, a multi-purpose field, two softball fields, six tennis courts, a volleyball court, a six-table sheltered picnic area, a recreation center, a playground, a sprayground, and miles of trails. See website for park map and reservable facilities information. Open daily.
The people of Charlotte tend to agree that Freedom Park is the place to be. This 98-acre public park is a slice of nature at its best, right in the middle of the city. Complete with four baseball diamonds, two batting cages, a dozen tennis courts, four soccer fields, a basketball court, a pair of volleyball courts, a pair of playgrounds, a seven-acre lake, an amphitheater, a number of sheltered picnic areas, and miles of trails and paths, Freedom Park has something for everyone. There's even a concession stand for joggers in need of water or sun bathers in need of ice cream. Many of the picnic shelters are reservable, as are the Freedom Park Bandshell and the Mahlon Adams Pavilion, a banquet hall that seats 70 people.
Though they are officially known as the "Carolina" Panthers, they play in uptown Charlotte, and it is the citizens of Charlotte in the stands cheering for them. Since their inception in 1995, the Panthers have clinched their division championship three times. They even made it to Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2003, where the New England Patriots defeated them by a slim three-point margin thanks to Adam Vinatieri's infamous, last-second, 41-yard field goal. See the Panthers go for the glory at their home, Bank of America Stadium. See website for ticketing information.
If you are all thumbs when it comes to holding a club, don't worry too much. Hone your skills at this facility, which includes a top notch practice center, eight target greens and artificial tees that can be played in all kinds of weather. Classes are held on a regular basis and can go on for as long as six months to a year; find a schedule that suits you best. If your kids show some potential in the sport, bring them along too—special classes are also conducted for those between five and 17 years of age. Check the website for more details.
Wing Haven Gardens and Bird Sanctuary was designed and created by Elizabeth and Edwin Clarkson in 1927, encompassing almost three acres in the Myers Park neighborhood of Charlotte. The estate includes the original house built by the couple, as well as extensive gardens which are now home to an array of flowers, local trees and birds. There are many winding paths to explore, with informational plaques lining the brick walkways. The Clarkson house is also worth a visit, as it has been renovated to replicate its original style. Also, make sure to check out the website for more information about the estate, as well as fun tips like recipes for peanut butter birdseed cakes. Guided tours for groups are available on some weekday mornings and reservations can be made by phone.
Amid the hustle and bustle of Charlotte lies Marshall Park, a nicely landscaped area with green grass and trees, a pond and a fountain in the middle. Occasionally, events and festivals take place here.
Beech Spring Mountain Bike Park is not for the faint of heart. This looping trail is well-maintained and perfect for those looking to get a nice bike ride in their day, but riders must be prepared for a rigorous workout. This trail is for advanced bikers, and runs alongside stunningly diverse scenery.
In the heart of Charlotte's historic Fourth Ward lies an epic monument to the rich history of the neighborhood, and the city as a whole. Thomas Polk, Charlotte founding father and kin to President James K. Polk, is buried here. A number of headstones date back to 1776. Still more mark the graves of heroic Civil War veterans. Within walking distance of other historic sites like Alex Mike's restaurant and the Fire Museum
Owned and operated by the same organization that runs the NBA Bobcats, the Charlotte Sting are another beloved institution of the Queen City. They were one of the first teams in a fledgling WNBA, and they made the playoffs in each of their first three seasons. The team thrills crowds all summer long at Charlotte Bobcats Arena, and tickets start as low as USD7 per seat. See website for season tickets and package deals. Call +1 800 495 2295 (Toll Free).
Little Sugar Creek Greenway provides trails that run through both urban and nature settings. There are works of public art positioned throughout the trail, including a mirrored sphere and a terrace that couples occasionally use for weddings. The Greenway connects to a number of parks, offering places for you to stop, rest, and relax along your journey.
The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County and the Children's Theatre of Charlotte have come together to create this awesome complex that houses the McColl Family Theatre, the Spangler Library, the Wachovia Playhouse, a Scene and Paint Shop, several studios, rehearsal rooms and a costume shop. A veritable entertainment center, this is the hub of family amusement activities in the area. A comprehensive collection of books and videos fills the library, while a number of educational programs for kids takes place at regular intervals.
Located in the same complex as the American Legion Memorial Stadium, the Grady Cole Center was built to replace the Charlotte Armory Arena which burned down. Once the practice court for the Charlotte Hornets, this sporting venue can seat close to 3000 people and has played host to several basketball and volleyball matches. Although primarily a basketball court, the Grady Cole Center is also a venue for musical performances and rock concerts, the likes of Gov't Mule, Coldplay and Ani DiFranco having already enthralled audiences here.